Sean’s family took a chance by moving forward with a cochlear implant, after a diagnosis as an infant of bilateral profound hearing loss. Years later, the improved technology has allowed him to not only achieve success academically and professionally as an athletic trainer, but also in athletics as a representative of the U.S Men’s Deaf National Team. Learn about Sean:


“24 years ago, after my birth, I was given a newborn screening where it was identified that I had profound bilateral hearing loss. It was and is idiopathic; to this day, I still don’t know the source of my hearing loss. What I do know is, my hearing loss has never been able to define me, or to hold me back.

Sean pictured as a teenage boy, wearing a green shirt and a cochlear implant sound processor behind his ear, attached to a wire to help program the device. Taking a chance with new technology

Options of delayed implantation or even an American School for the Deaf were proposed. My parents took a chance in what was at the time considered standard – unilateral cochlear implantation. At the age of 13 months, I had my first surgery. I would then grow up with massive support of what would, at times, feel like multiple villages.

Seeing my audiologist weekly, having my SPrint Sound Processor remapped monthly, a surgeon, a teaching aide, a school district specialist, IEP meetings at school, accommodations for sports and many other pieces of a massive puzzle to help me to get to where I am today.

During the summer going into my seventh grade year, a significant piece to my hearing loss puzzle was introduced: bilateral cochlear implantation. Adding a second cochlear implant was described as having the potential to greatly improve the quality of hearing. And since then, has been demonstrated each and every day. In my life I have had many sound processors. The SPrint Sound Processor, Nucleus® Freedom Sound Processor, Nucleus 5 Sound Processor, Nucleus 7 Sound Processor and most recently the Nucleus 8 Sound Processor. The many pieces of the puzzle have always been there to support me, never to hinder.

Flourishing in life and my career

In my lifetime, my parents have been told that I would not graduate high school, that I would not be able to have a successful job, and many other snide comments. Since then, my cochlear implants have given me the ability to not only live each day, but to flourish. I have graduated high school. I graduated undergraduate college with a Bachelor of Science in athletic training at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. I then went and graduated college again, this time with a Doctor of Athletic Training at the age of 23 from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN. I since then have moved out to Phoenix, AZ where I currently work as an athletic trainer at Grand Canyon University providing health care services for the women’s soccer and tennis programs.

Sean, who has benefitted from cochlear technology improvements, standing in front of a logo for his college, in his graduation cap and gown, holding his doctorate diploma. The high-quality sound and continuous improvement in the technology and design of the Cochlear solutions are what has allowed me to be in this position. Features available on the Nucleus Smart App1 allow me to be able to monitor battery levels on my iPhone® as well as my Apple® Watch®, day in day out. Additionally direct streaming2 abilities offered with the Bluetooth® connectivity that allows me to communicate over the phone and on FaceTime® with ease, as well as listening to my favorite music, movies and shows, while on super-secret sleuth mode.

Being labeled as deaf comes with not only the physical challenge, but several mental challenges, often left undiscussed. You are not alone. Hearing loss does not define you. It has never defined me, and never will. I hope that others certainly don’t allow it to define them. We have the support from many all over the world.

I have been given the opportunity to play the sport I love with the United States Deaf Men’s National Soccer team. To go to Brazil and compete in the Deaflympics, to meet many others from across the world to learn other cultures and learn to communicate with each other.

Cochlear implant technology has given me and countless others a blessing. One that I am forever thankful for.”

Improvements in cochlear technology may be able to help you flourish just like Sean! To find out if you are a candidate visit our website.

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  1. Nucleus Smart App is available on App Store and Google Play. For compatibility information, visit
  2. For a full list of smartphone and app compatible devices, visit:
  3. © Endicott College. All rights reserved.
  4. Copyright © Indiana State University
  5. Grand Canyon University © 2024 All Rights Reserved
  6. Apple, Apple Watch, iPhone and FaceTime are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries and regions.
  7. The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Cochlear is under license.
  9. Copyright © 1924 – 2024 International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. All rights reserved.
Jesse Griego
Jesse Griego is the Social Media Specialist at Cochlear Americas. Jesse finds inspiration daily in the resiliency of our recipients and their hearing journeys. Jesse was born and raised in Colorado and in his free time enjoys being a wrestling and lacrosse coach, playing guitar and being with his hound dog.